Councilman cited in police union complaint against city

by Jeff Saunders | Reporter Published:

Macedonia -- The union representing city police patrol officers and dispatchers has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the city in connection with alleged actions by a City Council member.

The complaint was filed by the Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association Feb. 13 with the State Employment Relations Board.

It states that "The City of Macedonia, by and through its agent Council Person Mike Miller, on at least two occasions in 2013 has confronted bargaining unit members to criticize their activity, improperly seek and coerce information and improperly threaten and interfere with the terms and conditions of their work."

Miller did not respond to messages regarding this story.

SERB Executive Director Christine Dietsch said Feb. 20 that SERB did not have any additional information.

City Law Director Joe Diemert informed City Council of the complaint Feb. 14, adding he also had little information.

"It's just in the beginning stages," he said.

"I would say that the first thing we would have to do is listen to what they have to say," said Miller at the meeting.

OPBA attorney S. Randall Weltman said that the complaint stems from a traffic accident in which Miller allegedly became involved after the driver was cited.

"In general, what this guy has been doing has been harassing a few members of the police department," Weltman alleged, adding that Miller allegedly threatened officers by telling them he would introduce legislation replacing the department with the Summit County Sheriff's Office because of the citation.

"He's on City Council. He doesn't have the right to meddle with the operation of the police department," said Weltman. "The police department deals with the administration."

Mayor Don Kuchta said he believes police acted appropriately in the incident.

"As public safety director, I stand behind my people [police officers] 100 percent and it's a shame it got to this point," said Kuchta. "I will work to resolve this issue as amicably as I can."

According to SERB's unfair labor practices brochure, once a complaint has been filed, SERB staff will investigate the complaint and prepare a report for the board. After viewing the report, the board could dismiss the complaint, order mediation or some other remedy to the situation.

Dietsch said via email that the remedy could take the form of a public notice of the violation of state unfair labor practice law, or the issuance of a cease and desist order that would be enforced via the court system.

"SERB cannot levy fines," wrote Dietsch.

Dietsch said cases can take three to four months from filing to "final disposition."

Email: jsaunders@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9432

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.